Woman in the Workforce: The Lasting Effects of WW2
It’s 2021 and we live in a world that not only allows women in the workplace but celebrates the diverse feminine aspects they bring. Working is no longer a privilege as much as it is an expectation. However, this has not always been the case.
Working Women before Industrialization:
Women were working long before they were paid any sort of wage. Traditionally, before industrialization, when agriculture was the main source of income, Women worked on the farms alongside their husbands. The labor was never confined to men, women performed physically demanding chores such as grinding grain, drawing, and carrying water, gathering wood, and churning milk to make butter. These jobs were performed continuously, unless a woman were to become pregnant and give birth.
How Industrialization Changed the “Woman’s Role”
It was not until the mid-19th century that gender-based roles, such as “breadwinner” and “housewife” emerged. A lot of this was brought on by humanitarian protests, claiming that labor conditions, in the early factory settings, were not suitable for women and children. This reinforced the idea that men were the good providers for their entire household and set a foundation to keep women from making their own wages- Unless they were looking to be a secretary, receptionist, or department store clerk.
World War II & The Modern Working Woman
When men went off to fight in the war, women were persuaded by the government to take a man’s place on the assembly line. One of the popular mottos from this period is “Free a man up to fight” and women were thrilled to step-up and serve their country. They filled a variety of roles, construction workers, lumber workers, taxi drivers, and so many more. Some even participated in the war, filling non-combat positions such as nurses, and pilots. Just because women could participate in more labor-based jobs does not mean they were welcomed warmly. In fact, they were given lower pay than their male counterparts, constantly looked down on and doubted, and worst of all, sexually harassed in their new jobs.
The Lasting Effects of WW2:
The call for women to work was intended to be a temporary fix. Those who were fine with going back to their old way of life left their jobs with new-found confidence and skillsets. While the women who remained in their positions were often demoted. However, as the country attempted to revert to “normal”, men could no longer claim superiority over women. Women had shown they possessed the same capabilities. With a taste of financial and personal freedom, women continued to fight for an opportunity to work non-traditional jobs and equal pay.
The war provided the United States with the momentum needed to progress past the need for traditional, sexist beliefs. As a woman, I am grateful for the opportunities that were presented over 80 years ago, because they allowed for me, and every other American woman, to have the freedoms and opportunities that we do today.
ReJoyce Financial celebrates women with you this month! And as always, we want to help you obtain the retirement of your dreams. Call us at 317.903.9157 to connect with us today, and we will give you a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our trained financial professionals.
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Written by: Brittany Love